Saturday, May 1

"Yeah, I seen a severed head come past. Just a little while ago in fact," says the fat balloon salesman. His bright red and white stripped shirt makes Howie's eyes cross. "Real ugly lookin' dude, bald, kind of green."

"He's not ugly," says Howie. "When did you see him and did he say where he was going?"

"No, didn't say. Hey, you going to buy a balloon or what."

Howie holds out a quarter. "A blue one please. Was he still with the dog?"

"A blue one, our specialty. No, no dog. Some dame. All in red, some hot number, that one. They were making all cutsey faces. She bought them both balloons. Orange ones."

"Any idea where I can find them?" She grips her spoon too hard. She looks at the palm of her hand and sees a purple imprint of it.

"Sorry."

"That's fine. I appreciate your help."

"Anytime, little girl."

"My name's Howie." And she runs off, bright blue balloon dragging the air behind her.

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